The Bible Book of Genesis – Geology, Archaeology, and Theology – Part 12
Genesis 7 & 8: The Cataclysmic Deluge Account – a Worldwide Catastrophe or Local Flood? Part 4
The Geological Record and the Cataclysmic Deluge
Luke 19:40 “… the stones would cry out.”
Geologists tend to view the present as the key to the past.
Biblicists would say that the past is the key to the present and the future.
This contrasts the difference in the way one views the world and shows that the way we view the world is key as it affects the way we understand and view the past. No more so than in the question now addressed, were the rocks and the fossils formed under rapid processes or gradual processes?
Rapid Processes or Gradual Processes?
Geology textbooks teach that all processes take place gradually, solely based on observation of the rate of current processes. This is called Uniformitarianism. However, that presupposes that conditions have always been the same. There is increasing evidence available in the world around us that this has not always been the case. The following items are just examples, they are not an exhaustive list by any means.
The bulk of the Geologists and paleontologists would have us believe that uniformitarianism or some form of it is what happened, but there are many scientists and highly educated people that now believe the opposite and accept the Bible record. What follows in this article are very reasonable explanations of what could have and indeed likely did occur during the Cataclysmic Deluge of Noah’s day.
To fully understand the picture we first need to give the background as to the rocks we find on our earth and how they are formed.
Occurrence of Sedimentary Rocks – Catastrophic or Gradual
Rocks are classified into 3 main categories, Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary.
These are defined as rocks formed by the cooling and solidifying of molten materials. Igneous rocks can form beneath the Earth’s surface, or at its surface, as lava flows as seen in Hawaii and Iceland, and elsewhere.
Examples of rocks produced in this category include Granite (such as Yosemite Valley, California, USA or Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, USA), and Basalt (such as the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland). These also tend to be the hardest rocks and the most resistant to erosion and weathering.
Igneous Rock: Basalt Columns at Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland, UK. (Author’s Picture)
These are rocks that resulted from the alteration of pre-existing rocks whether Igneous or Sedimentary, whether by variations in temperature, pressure, mechanical stress, or the addition or loss of chemical components. A common well-known example would be slate, often used as a roofing material for buildings. It would have been formed from a shale-type sedimentary rock formed of clay or fine volcanic ash, and then undergone intense heating and pressure.
Metamorphic rock: Slate outcrop and spoil heap, Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, UK.
These are rocks that are formed by the accumulation of sediments, and are split into 3 subtypes:
- Clastic: created by accumulation and compaction or cementation of weathered rock debris. Typical examples include conglomerate, sandstone, siltstone, and shale, deriving from pebbles, sand, silt, and clay respectively.
Sedimentary Clastic: Sandstone Cliff, Deir el-Bahari, Egypt. (Author’s picture)
- Chemical: where dissolved minerals precipitate from solution, such as limestones and rock salt (for example at the Dead Sea, Israel).
Sedimentary: Chemical precipitate of Sodium Chloride and other salts. Dead Sea Salt Deposits, Israel.
- Organic: formed from an accumulation of plant or animal debris, such as chalk (from shells and algae), coal (plant matter), and some limestones (from shells, corals).
Sedimentary – Organic: Sydney Mines, Point Aconi Coal Seam. 
The sedimentary rock we find on the continents of the Earth’s crust covers some 73% of the Earth’s current land surface according to the latest estimates. While sedimentary rock is estimated to be only 8% of the volume of the crust, at times it can be up to 20 miles in depth. Sedimentary rocks are only a thin veneer over an underlying crust consisting mainly of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The rocks of the Precambrian period (the oldest rocks in the Geological record) are estimated to be only 5% sedimentary in nature. The great majority of these sedimentary rocks contain marine fossils, sometimes in association with land creatures. These few high-level facts in themselves suggest that at least 73% of the land was at one time covered by water, if not more. That is before we factor in that igneous rocks can also be formed underwater, such as at the Mid Atlantic Ridge in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, only visible at landfall in Iceland. In addition, metamorphic rocks require great pressure and or heat to form. This occurs mainly by contact with Igneous intrusions providing the heat or by the pressure of overlying strata and/or under a massive depth of water providing the pressure.
Does the Geological record give evidence of sudden catastrophism rather than gradual slow processes?
This is a bed of shale dated by Geologists to the Devonian Period found in the United States and Canada. Its average thickness is about 20 feet, but not larger than 35 feet. It is present over large parts of the United States and part of Canada (although underground), and lies upon an unconformity, which is a previous, older rock layer that was eroded before the mud deposits which formed the shale was made. The unconformity\shale interface, where the two rocks meet, is pretty much level. It covers too massive an area to have been deposited by a river.
A report by the USGS of July 1952 about the Origin of the Chattanooga Shale states the following: “The accumulation of such vast quantities of extremly fine grained quartz particles over such large areas, raises interesting questions as to source and the mechanics of transportation and deposition. Thin sections show that many of the laminations in the shale are no thicker than three or four layers of these minute quartz grains so one can truthfully say that the shale has paper-thin laminations.” p.9. “In the central Tennessee area the Chattanooga shale has a normal thickness of about 30 to 35 ·feet. Southward towards Alabama it is thinner, and at the Alabama State line is commonly 5 feet or less thick, or is missing entirely, Northward into Kentucky it becomes .thicker. In general, the thickness is surprisingly uniform over fairly large areas, such as one or more counties.” Pgs 10-11. “The shale in Tennessee lies on 23 different formations as mapped by Wilson, ranging in age from Middle Ordovician to Middle Devonian. Nearly everywhere, however, the contact is essentially smooth and shows no more than a few inches of undulation in a single exposure. In many places the underlying formations are gently truncated, so that an angular unconformity of a few degrees is present, yet the contact is essentially smooth. Wherever we have seen the shale, it appears to lie on a peneplain that is remarkable for its smoothness, and is far more perfect than any in existence today” p.13.
All in all, it was a remarkable deposit, with nothing like it found in the world we live in today. On its own does it prove a Worldwide flood, no. But it does give evidence of unique circumstances at some time in the earth’s past, something which a Worldwide deluge would definitely create. It also adds yet another piece of circumstantial evidence.
Found in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona. It is a clearly seen outcrop of red limestone as a bed halfway up the side of the Grand Canyon. It is up to 600 feet deep and has Sandstone beds above and below. In the middle of this bed is a thin extinction bed packed with nautiloids. The almost pencil-shaped shells of the fossil nautiloids are all lined up in the same direction, not randomly, wherever this bed is found. This had to have occurred with a prevailing current over the entire massive area of deposition and a catastrophic event to achieve this. It was not the result of some gradual process. The bed stretches from the suburbs of Las Vegas to Nautiloid Canyon covering hundreds of square miles. The nautiloids range from 6ft down to 1ft long, a whole living population was wiped out in one catastrophic event. The same limestone with the same fossils is found in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, United Kingdom, and the Himalayas. Is not a worldwide flood the best explanation?
Chalk deposits (Cretaceous)
These are found in Yorkshire and the North and South Downs in Southern England resulting in the White Cliffs of Dover, and on the Isle of Wight, forming the Needles and Tennyson Downs. They are also found in Northern Ireland, near the Giants Causeway (the Basalt intrudes into the Chalk), Scotland (Isle of Mull), Greenland, France (such as Dieppe and the Champagne region), Belgium (Mons) through the Netherlands (Maastricht) to Germany (Jasmund), Denmark (Mons Klint), Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and on into Turkey, Syria, and Egypt (The White Desert, Al Farafrah, near Cairo). Nebraska to Texas, USA, and South Western Australia. (This is not necessarily an exhaustive list.) It is important to point out that these chalk deposits contain the same types of fossils and are of the same relative age (named Cretaceous in the Geological Era Table).
Chalk Cliffs, South Coast of Malta. (Author’s picture)
This bed of white sandstone, being made of pure white quartz sand, is found near the top of the Grand Canyon. It had to have been eroded from Canada as a minimum distance, as there is no other nearer source, and the bed immediately below the Coconino sandstone is the Hermit Shale (a red-brown mud). It is up to 315 feet thick and has cross-bedding caused by a water wave moving underwater sand dunes. The same process can be seen happening today in San Francisco Bay. However, this sandstone bed covers an area of 100,000 square miles (250,000km2) and a volume of some 10,000 cubic miles of sediment (42,000 cubic km)! Despite this, it has been calculated that it only needed a 60ft (18m) high sand wave moving at 3-5mph (5-8km). At this speed, it would only have to take a few days for the whole of the 100,000 square miles deposit. Not a slow process, but catastrophic and rapid.
Uluru (formerly Ayers) Rock, Australia
This sandstone was deposited level but now is nearly vertical at 80 degrees. Under the microscope the sand grains can be seen to be:
- a mixture of all sizes,
- with jagged edges,
- and containing feldspar.
These all indicate rapid deposition and compaction. It doesn’t take long for sand to sort out by grain size, in fact, it can happen in minutes. Try it for yourself next time on a sandy beach with a water source perhaps dammed up which then overflows. In seconds or a few minutes (depending on the water flow speed), you will have a nice size-sorted fan-shaped delta from the overflow. Sand grains on a beach or in a stream are usually rounded due to the abrasion against other particles in the water. There was no time for the normal abrasion and rounding to happen. Finally, feldspar is a mineral that left open to the atmosphere will rapidly decompose.
The feldspar mineral is also commonly found in granite and where it easily weathers in exposed rock and turns to kaolin a.k.a. China Clay, which is used for porcelain and many other things. The sandstone of Uluru (Ayers Rock) is 18,000 – 20,000 feet (up to 6,100m) thick. Furthermore, the sand was eroded and transported at least 83 miles (134km) based on its composition. Sediment slurries known as turbidity currents are known to travel at up to 70mph (113km) and could have transported and deposited the 6,000m bed in a matter of hours. Catastrophic or slow process?
Bending of Whole Rock sequences without fracturing
In the Grand Canyon, there is a feature called the Kaibab Upwarp. Here rocks ranging from the Tapeats Sandstone at the bottom to the Kaibab limestone bridge an alleged geological time period of 515 million years ago to 270 million years ago. Yet they have a wave in them with virtually no fracturing.
The Upwarp occurred allegedly 70 million years ago, some 450 million years after the Tapeats sandstone was deposited and 180 million years after the Kaibab Limestone. Yet the beds show virtually no sign of any fracturing or serious distortion. If those beds were rocks when the upwarp occurred they would have fractured and broken, but this has not happened. The uplift must therefore have taken place while the rocks were still soft and pliable, which they most definitely would not be after 180m yrs let alone 450+m yrs. Another case of catastrophic deposition and folding, rather than slow, gradual processes.
Rapid or No Erosion between Rock Layers
A hurricane is known to deposit up to a foot of sand (0.33m).
The base on which the Tapeats Sandstone rests is eroded and extensively planed. The base is hard granite in many places which is difficult to erode. However, many of the beds above the Tapeats Sandstone have little or no erosion present, yet there are allegedly millions of years between them.
6 – Hermit, Coconino, Toroweap, and Kaibab (Permian)
5 – Supai Group
- 5d – Esplanade Formation
- 5c – Wescogame Formation (Pennsylvanian)
- 5b – Manakacha Formation (Pennsylvanian)
- 5a – Watahomigi Formation (Pennsylvanian)
4 – Temple Butte, Redwall, and Surprise Canyon
- 4c – Surprise Canyon Formation (Mississippian)
- 4b – Redwall Limestone (Mississippian)
- 4a – Temple Butte Limestone (Devonian)
3 – Tonto Group – (Cambrian)
2 – Grand Canyon Supergroup (Pre-Cambrian)
1 – Vishnu Group (Pre-Cambrian)
In the diagram above, many of the joins of beds are straight-lined which means no erosion was found and there is a flat join. For example, the base of the Coconino Sandstone where it meets the Hermit shale is a knife-edge join, yet there is meant to be 10 million years between them. The Redwall Limestone to Muav Limestone is also a flat join for most of its area, with a few small pockets of local erosion infilled by the Temple Butte Limestone. This means that there was little or no erosion in this area over a period of 250 million years. How is that believable when in today’s processes we cannot protect areas from encroachment by the sea, even with concrete sea walls and brought in deposited lorry loads of hard rocks?
This list is not exhaustive by any means, but these 7 points alone, all give evidence of rapid catastrophic formation. They also took place over continental, sometimes worldwide areas. There is also clear evidence that the massive time periods of 10’s of millions of years assigned cannot be correct.
Dating Methods used for Rocks
By Relative Dating
This is when rocks are labeled in a sequence where there are exposures of a great number of beds, especially ones that can be found in many places. While the dates in millions of years assigned by mainstream geologists to the beds may be disputed, the relative ages or relative order are rarely in dispute. A good example as to how a geological column of relative ages can be built up is illustrated with the Grand Canyon Staircase diagram below:
Diagram from Public Domain.
The sequence can be obtained by observation and measurement in the Grand Canyon itself, followed by a view to the north of the Chocolate, Vermillion and White Cliffs. This would then be followed by the sediment layers exposed in Zion Canyon and from the top of Zion Canyon north to Brian Head overlooking Cedar City, confirmed by a view from Cedar City up the cliff to Brian Head. With care, this is a very accurate way of getting relative ordering of different rock beds.
The relative dating by observation either physically or by borehole specimens can then be supplemented by Index fossils. This is when there is the presence of a particular fossil in a narrow range of beds or an even narrower range within a particular bed that is widespread. This can overcome slight natural variations in color and consistency of a particular bed appearing in different locations. For example, ammonite species with their particular specific segment pattern joins are very useful for this purpose. This is less accurate than relative dating unless used with great care as the assumption has previously been made that the particular index fossil only appears in a particular bed. If one finds that particular fossil in a bed quite different in nature from the normal bed, in a very different location, there may be a temptation on the part of the geologist to assign that different bed to the same relative age as the bed of the index fossil which may or may not be correct.
These methods have a plethora of assumptions made.
- Radiocarbon dating (C14) is applied to samples thought to be less than 60,000 years old. Its half-life is 5,700 years.
- Uranium-Thorium (U-Th) dating is used on coral, carbonates, and fossil bones, on ages estimated to be up to 700,000 years. Its half-life is approximately 75,000 years.
- Potassium-Argon (K-Ar) dating is used on metamorphic, igneous, and volcanic rocks. Its half-life is approximately 1.300 billion years.
- Uranium-Lead (U-Pb) dating is the method most commonly used for rocks. Its half-life is 4.47 billion years.
- Rubidium-Strontium (Rb-Sr) dating is used for igneous and metamorphic rocks. Its half-life is 49.23 billion years.
Radioisotopes are unstable forms of a chemical element that emits various forms of radiation such as alpha or beta particles, or gamma ray photon radiation as it spontaneously decays into some other element. The methods are based on what is known as the half-life decay rate, which means how long it takes, for example, for half of the Uranium to break down into Lead. (2 half-lives is a ¼ of Uranium left, 6 half-lives would mean 1/64 of the Uranium is left).
The big issues here obviously are the assumptions made. Using Uranium-Lead as the example:
- The assumption was made that the sample only had Uranium present and no Lead was present with all lead found in the sample being derived from the Uranium or a known amount of lead was present.
- The assumption is that no Uranium was leached out or introduced over the life of the sample.
- Likewise, the assumption that no Lead was introduced or leached out.
- The assumption is that the decay rate in the past was constant and the same as it is today.
- The decay of any radioactive nucleus happens randomly and cannot be predicted accurately on a small scale. The smaller the sample size the more open the result is to errors and distortions.
Any one of these assumptions mentioned above being incorrect would drastically upset the results. For example, weathering by exposure to rain, river water, or seawater at any time, not just the present can result in leaching of the minerals.
An even bigger issue is that all fossils with organic matter return a C14 age of 50,000 years old or less. Yet some of those same fossils may be in rocks dated by Uranium-Lead to be hundreds of millions of years old. Furthermore, the detectable levels are 200-400 times the laboratories detection limit meaning that the readings have plenty of C14 and C12 to measure. This has been accepted as fact by the geological community for more than 15 years, with numerous peer-reviewed articles in technical geological literature, but not made widely known. The levels of C14 were found to be high and consistent, yet this inconvenient truth was explained away as ‘in-situ contamination’.
According to Geology.com most rock-hosted diamond deposits formed during the Precambrian Era, greater than 540 million years ago. This is due to the requirements of very high temperatures (2000F) 1050 degrees Celsius, and very high pressures only existing in limited zones of the earth’s mantle about 90 miles below the earth’s surface. Yet detectable amounts of C14 has been found in diamonds, which means even according to geologists a maximum age of about 55,000 years.
However, even more, indisputable evidence against a period of millions of years is the case of Zircon, chemical formula ZrSiO4, which is a crystal common in granite. Zircon crystals tend to incorporate 1% Uranium when they form. Also, Zircon tends to strongly exclude Lead when it forms. This means the starting proportions of both Uranium and Lead can be calculated with a high degree of accuracy with Zircon, unlike other rock and mineral samples. Zircons have a high melting temperature, are mechanically extremely hard, and hence extremely resistant to weathering and alteration i.e. by leaching. Zircons were extracted from drill cores in granite basement rock up to 2.5 miles deep in northern New Mexico.
Uranium breaks down to Lead and releases helium in the Zircon crystal. The Helium leaks out of the crystal. The Uranium – Lead age of the samples came out at 1.5 billion years. Helium leaks out of Zircon at different rates, more at higher temperatures, but at measurable rates.
Furthermore, using multiple types of radiometric dating results in discordant dates known as Isochron Discordance. For a more detailed scientific paper on this issue read this paper. Just one example from this paper is “A very relevant example is the stark contrast between the U-Pb radioisotope “age” of 1500 Ma for the zircon grains in the Jemez granodiorite of New Mexico and the He (derived from U decay) diffusion age of the same zircon grains of only about 6000 years [Humphreys et al., 2003a,b, 2004; Humphreys, 2005].” pg401, pdf page 9. The difference of time between 1,500 million years and 6,000 years could hardly be more stark, well outside any claimed calculation tolerances.
Conclusion about Rapid or Gradual Processes
The author strongly believes after weighing up the evidence, that the Geological record of the rocks gives abundant evidence of a worldwide cataclysmic deluge. The evidence for a worldwide flood is mounting up in that the majority of rock deposits are being found to have been created by catastrophic processes over a short period of time, rather than by slow gradual processes over millions of years combined with occasional catastrophic events.
In our next part, we will examine the fossil record evidence.
To be continued ….
- https://geology.com/rocks/basalt.shtml ↑
- https://geology.com/rocks/metamorphic-rocks.shtml ↑
- https://geology.com/rocks/sedimentary-rocks.shtml ↑
- Photo by Rygel, M.C., CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikimedia Commons) ↑
- Wilkinson, Bruce H.; McElroy, Brandon J.; Kesler, Stephen E.; Peters, Shanan E.; Rothman, Edward D. (2008). “Global geologic maps are tectonic speedometers – Rates of rock cycling from area-age frequencies”. Geological Society of America Bulletin. 121 (5–6): 760-779 Bibcode:2009GSAB..121..760W. doi:10.1130/B26457.1 ↑
Note: dating estimates vary depending on your source. This takes those found here.: http://www.grandcanyonnaturalhistory.com/pages_nature/geology/cover_layers.html ↑
- http://snowgeology.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-kaibab-monocline.html Field trip to the upwarp. ↑
- Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=314356 ↑
- https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z27m6fr/revision/4 ↑
- https://geology.com/articles/diamonds-from-coal/ ↑
- http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/technical/Isochron-Discordances.pdf ↑